The unfurling stem of this white autumn cyclamen looks like a small snake uncurling its sinuous body. Those of you for whom snakes in the garden are commonplace will no doubt put me right. As I have never seen a snake here, this pretender will have to do. You can even see the tongue, unfortunately unforked, testing for whatever snakes test their environment for.
The October Bunting is out. Virginia creepers are a magnificent sight at this time of year. The one above grows on an ancient stone wall and the one below has sneaked its tendrils into the welcoming arms of a conifer.
October is not only golden, it also decks itself out in the most glorious shades of red. Below is another example:
Ripe elderberries have been picked, laboriously removed from every little bit of stem and stalk, left to ferment in a bucket for a few days, and are now sitting in their demijohns, fitted with fermentation locks and bungs, to complete fermentation, before they are bottled and stored for a year or two to mature. The homely sound of bubbles escaping from the locks will accompany us throughout October.
It is such a shame that I simply cannot get my personal wine drinking tastebuds adapted to fruit wines. Beloved drinks his fruit wine with pleasure, whereas I demand the fermented grape. I am more than happy to use his product for cooking, though; it adds the most deliciously fruity tang to many of my stews and casseroles and a meat sauce or hearty gravy is much improved by it.
When I opened the back door this morning I walked straight into the gossamer threads of a spider's web.
It's a slightly unpleasant feeling and I instinctively swiped at my face and flapped my hands in front of me. Luckily, the centre of the web was higher up, against the doorframe and I damaged very little.
I quickly looked for the spider itself; it was hiding a long way from the web, with a fine signal line leading from its secretive retreat in the angle between doorframe and wall. Araneus diadematus is one of the most common and best known orb weavers. It is easily identified by the distinctive white cross on its back (although in some specimens it is indistinct or missing). This spider is most commonly called the 'garden spider' in England, it is also known as the cross spider. They are common in woodlands, heathlands and gardens. I am not sure if this representative of its kind still has the requisite number of legs.
The garden spider is mature from summer to autumn and at its largest in late autumn and often full of eggs. After laying their eggs the females die and only the eggs and the spiders that hatched in spring that year will overwinter. I couldn't see a nest; although I am not frightened of spiders and quite a fan of wildlife, I probably wouldn't want to share my house with a large family of them.